Michigan State University

Holmes Hall

Room W-25C

919 East Shaw Lane

East Lansing, MI 48825

(517) 884-0592


Sean A. Valles

Associate Professor

Michigan State University

Lyman Briggs College

Department of Philosophy


Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program

About Me

I have a dual appointment in the MSU Lyman Briggs College (75%) and the Department of Philosophy (25%). 

My research spans a range of topics related to socially relevant philosophy of population health, from the use of evidence in medical genetics to the roles played by race concepts in epidemiology.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Hall, T. E., Engebretson, J., O’Rourke, M., Piso, Z., Whyte, K., & Valles, S (2016) The Need for Social Ethics in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science Graduate Programs: Results from a Nation-Wide Survey in the United States. Science and Engineering Ethics, [Published Online Ahead of Print]

Valles SA (2016) The Challenges of Choosing and Explaining a Phenomenon in Epidemiological Research on the "Hispanic Paradox". Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 37 (2), 129-148

Normandin S and Valles SA (2015) How a Network of Conservationists and Population Control Activists Created the Contemporary US Anti-Immigration Movement. Endeavour, 39 (2), 95-105.

Valles SA, Bhopal RS, Aspinall PJ (2015) Census Categories for Mixed Race and Mixed Ethnicity: Impacts on Data Collection and Analysis in the US, UK and NZ. Public Health, 129 (3), 266-270.

Katikireddi SV and Valles SA (2015) Coupled Ethical–Epistemic Analysis of Public Health Research and Practice: Categorizing Variables to Improve Population Health and Equity, American Journal of Public Health, 105 (1), e36-e42 [Open Access]

Valles SA (2015) Bioethics and the Framing of Climate Change’s Health Risks. Bioethics, 29(5), 334-341.

Valles SA (2013) Validity and Utility in Biological Traits. Biological Theory, 8(1), 93-102.

Valles SA (2012) Heterogeneity of Risk within Racial Groups, a Challenge for Public Health Programs. Preventive Medicine, 55(5), 405-408.

Valles SA (2012) Should Direct to Consumer Personalized Genomic Medicine Remain Unregulated? A Rebuttal of the Defenses. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 55(2), 250-265.

Valles SA (2012) Evolutionary Medicine at Twenty: Rethinking Adaptationism and Disease. Biology and Philosophy, 27(2), 241-261.

Valles SA (2012) Lionel Penrose and the Concept of Normal Variation in Human Intelligence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43(1), 231-289.

Valles SA (2010) The Mystery of the Mystery of Common Genetic Diseases. Biology and Philosophy, 25(2), 183-201.

Short Commentaries and Book Reviews

Valles, SA (2015) Judging Culpability in Dwyer’s Climate Change “Gaia Commission”: A Response to Dwyer. BioéthiqueOnline, 4(22), 1-2.

Valles, SA(2013) Women's Health Through an Evolutionary Lens. Evolution, 67(10), 3075-3076.

Valles, SA (2013) Review of Scientific Method in Brief. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 35(3), 478-479.


NSF Award #1564745 ($649,279), Division of Undergraduate Education, “Scholarship Program for Retaining, Inspiring, and eNabling Graduates (SPRING): Implementation and Assessment of its Impact on Retention and Graduation Rates.” PI Ryan Sweeder, co-PI Sean Valles, co-PI Mark Largent, co-PI Richard Shipman, co-PI Samantha Cass

NSF Award #1338614 ($196,759), Division of Social and Economic Sciences, Ethics Education in Science and Engineering, “Collaborative Research: Values and Policy in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science: A Dialogue-based Framework for Ethics Education.” PI Michael O’Rourke, co-PI Sean Valles, co-PI Kyle Whyte, co-PI Thomas Dietz

Project is synchronized with parallel grant (NSF Award #1338626) to U. of Idaho, $103,241.

Work for a General Audience

Radio Interview with Greening of the Great Lakes, aired on WJIM 8/31/15 and WJR on  9/1/15

“Don’t Call Them ‘Kids,’” for Inside Higher Ed, June, 2014


Republished by Slate.com as “Hey Professors, Quit Calling Your Students ‘Kids’: It’s Demeaning and Encourages Childish Behavior,” June, 2014


“Climate Change and Medical Risk,” for the MSU Bioethics in the News Blog series, October, 2013


2010, PhD

Indiana University

  1. Department of History and Philosophy of Science

2008, MA

Indiana University 

  1. Department of History and Philosophy of Science

2005, BA

St. John’s College-Annapolis

  1. Liberal Arts (“The Great Books Program”)

Photo by Michigan State U.